Dealing with Change

Dealing with change is a normal part of the student experience. Whether it’s starting a new school, trying to make friends, or being assigned a new teacher, change is part of the learning process.

But, over the past few years, our students have had to cope with a lot of challenges far outside of what is typical. As a result, many are feeling overly stressed out and anxious.

One way to help they cope is to help them classify the types of change they are dealing with.

In this lesson, we will explore some of the changes they may be experiencing and how to deal with these changes more effectively.

dealing with change

Recommended Grade Level: Elementary

SEL Skill(s): Emotion Regulation

Duration: 30 minutes per worksheet


  • Post-it notes
  • Pen or pencil
  • Dealing With Change worksheet

Dealing With Change Lesson Instructions

On your whiteboard, make a rating scale and label one side “Small change” and the other “Big change.”

Ask your students to think about changes in their lives that have happened during the past year. You may want to share a few examples like:

  • Play a new sport
  • Having a substitute teacher
  • Starting a new school
  • Having indoor recess because of bad weather

Pass out a post-it note to each student and have them write down one change, and ask them place the post-it note on the board under small change, big change, or somewhere in between.

Tell your students that even if it’s a small change for them, it may feel big for someone else.

As students come and go from the board, spend a few minutes to discuss the changes as a group.

Note: This is a great opportunity for you to gain insight into how your students view and internalize everyday changes.

Dealing With Change Worksheet

Prompt: Ask students, What are some ways that we can cope with changes? These should be things that make you feel better.”

If your students are stuck, you can offer these prompts: taking deep breaths, talking to a friend, or thinking about the positives that may happen.

Say, “Another way to deal with change is to think about how the change makes you feel, and then write about it in a journal.”

After sharing the worksheet, tell your students “Now, I’d like for you to think about 3 additional changes that have happened in your life during the past year.

  • Write down what the change was
  • Next, write down if you think that this change was big or small, or maybe somewhere in between
  • Lastly, for each change, write about how it made you feel at the time. Were you: Excited, afraid, sad, worried, ready, etc.
  • And as a bonus, you can write how you now feel about the change”

Discussion: Ask students to share some of the changes and talk about how it made them feel.

Additional Resources

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